No Time to Die
No Time to Die is among the more comprehensible titles for a James Bond film (at least more so than Quantum of Solace, if less than Moonraker), not least because time is significant in discussing Daniel Craig’s swan song. It has been six years since the last instalment (the longest gap since the Dalton-Brosnan transition), ostensibly delayed by Covid but really because that’s how long it took Phoebe Waller-Bridge to go through the script, removing all the misogyny. 20 minutes pass before Bond manhandles a woman, and another ten before we get our first comedy Russian (David Dencik).
Bookended by bittersweet references to On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, this 25th entry (and the first to reference Wallace & Gromit) finds James and Madeleine (Lea Seydoux) in Italy, where he tells her, “We have all the time in the world,” known to fans as MI6 code for something bad being about to happen – and it involves a deadly toxin weaponised by an intense Rami Malek. Before you can say “Killer Queen”, Bond is off on another globetrotting adventure (he is among the few Brits whose European travel is unrestricted by Brexit), comprising secret island bases, egregious kissoff lines and weirdly, Hugh Dennis.
After Billie Eilish’s forgettable theme song dies away, Bond works with the CIA, Q (Ben Whishaw) makes tea and M (Ralph Fiennes) is into some BS. Eventually Bond returns to British intelligence (in need of all the help it can get) despite having already been replaced by someone actually capable of espionage, resulting in some fun double-007 schtick. Most of this nearly three-hour Heineken advert does little new but does it well, thanks to stunning photography – No Time to Die was shot on 15/70mm IMAX film, a first for a Bond movie – exhilarating action and some character advancement for the semi-retired and fully exhausted superspy, even if the impact of these developments is diminished by Bond having the emotional range of a sentient potato.
The mission itself is by the book, its villain such a cliche (effete manner, facial scarring, emotional baggage) that Bond seems more annoyed than disturbed by his presence. Ana de Armas makes a rare impression in the franchise as a woman with a personality, though she is practically given less screen time than Q’s cat. The climax is much bolder, arguably too bold for the routine film that precedes it, but it is precisely that sense of tiredness that justifies the ending. As enjoyable as it is, No Time to Die marks a time to change – which is famously as good as a rest, and he just did that for six years.
No Time to Die is released nationwide on 30th September 2021 and is best enjoyed in IMAX cinemas where 26% more picture is shown.
Watch the trailer for No Time to Die here: